Hospital visitation policy protecting same-sex couples takes effect today

January 18, 2011

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 — Federal regulations on hospital visitation take effect today that protect same-sex couples in hospital settings across the country. The new regulations apply to all hospitals receiving funds from the federal government under the Medicaid and Medicare programs for the needy and elderly. Under the regulations, hospitals may not place any restrictions on visitation based on sexual orientation. In addition, the hospitals must inform each patient of his or her right to receive visitors designated by the patient, "including, but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner (including a same-sex domestic partner), another family member or a friend." Any hospital found to violate the new rules risks losing a major source of revenue.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“Today marks a step forward in ensuring same-sex couples are no longer discriminated against in hospital settings. Of all the things same-sex couples have to worry about, of all the discrimination and pressures we face, not being able to see our partner or spouse shouldn't be one of them. This new policy will have a positive impact on same-sex couples and our families throughout the nation. We thank the administration for taking this step, but continue to urge for the removal of barriers to full protections for our families, which includes repealing DOMA."

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.